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HT Picks: This week’s interesting reads

A wonderfully illustrated book on artist Amrita Sher-Gil, a collection of essays on marriage, and a volume on climate change in India

books Updated: Jun 01, 2018 17:35 IST
HT Team
HT Team
Hindustan Times
marriage,climate,Indian art
Climate change, marriage and art all feature in this week’s good reads. (HT Team)

AMRITA SHER-GIL; REBEL WITH A PAINTBRUSH BY ANITA VACHHARAJANI WITH ILLUSTRATIONS BY KALYANI GANAPATHY

182pp, Rs 699; HarperCollins

The presents I most looked forward to as a child were paint-boxes, coloured pencils, drawing paper, and picture books. I always drew and painted everything myself, and resented correction or interference in my work – Amrita Sher-Gil

An artist, a citizen of the world and a rebel, Amrita Sher-Gil was one of modern India’s first professional women artists. Determined to forge a path of her own in the world of art, she went on to become a painter of world renown.

Amrita was horn in Hungary, raised in India and trained in France – and she was inspired by writers, musicians and artists across geographies and time. From ancient Indian murals and miniature paintings, to medieval and modern European art, Amrita found lessons everywhere. Take a peek behind the canvas to get to know Amrita the artist, the rebel, the dreamer.

This Timeless Biography takes you on a journey through Amrita’s life and art, as wars and global events began to change the world – slowly in some ways and rapidly in others. Join Amrita and the rest of the Sher-Gil family as they travel across countries and continents in pursuit of happiness, home, learning and love.

KNOT FOR KEEPS; WRITING THE MODERN MARRIAGE EDITED BY SATHYA SARAN

164pp, Rs 299; HarperCollins

What holds two people together for life, sometimes across continents? What drives them apart even as they share their lives under the same roof? What makes marriage the only socially acceptable goal of a relationship? Are women and men exploring other forms of being in a relationship? Why are more and more marriages failing?

In a society where not being married is now respectable, where getting divorced is a natural solution to discord and where traditional gender roles have lost meaning – marriage is no longer the institution it once was. Through Sharanya Manivannan’s poignant essay on loneliness, Kalyan Ray’s account of his two-decade-long marriage to Aparna Sen, Prasoon Joshi’s evocative poem, Chitra Viraraghavan’s cheeky story on infidelity and many others, Knot for Keeps takes a hard look at the many attributes and changing dynamics of the modern marriage.


THE CLIMATE SOLUTION BY MRIDULA RAMESH

325pp, Rs 550; Hachette

From fatal heatwaves and cruel droughts to devastating floods and fast-depleting water tables, climate change is the greatest disruptor of our time – and it can no longer be ignored.

For most of us the odds seem overwhelming and solutions out of reach. Yet, in this forcefully argued book, climate–change practitioner, teacher and investor Mridula Ramesh emphasizes that while the situation is grim, it is not without hope.

Drawing on her extensive practical and investing experience, she explores myriad faces of this raging issue: Why women are peculiarly affected by a warming climate; how climate change poses a security threat to the Indian state; why just focusing on green sources of power is an incomplete solution for India; how managing waste can create lakhs of urban jobs; and how households can cope in a ‘Day Zero’ water situation.

In doing so, she shows how climate warriors, from the cotton fields of Punjab and thriving eco start-ups in Bengaluru to a forest guardian in Assam and the johads of Rajashtan, have employed ingenuity and initiative to adapt to the changing conditions – and sometimes reverse their shattering effects.

Timely, urgent and thought-provoking this book is an urgent call to action – and an essential manifesto for every Indian citizen to follow.

First Published: Jun 01, 2018 17:32 IST